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Five things making headlines in South Africa today

Q2 current account deficit, FirstRand and Sanlam results, Sasol workers strike, EOH issues trading statement.

Here’s what caught our attention on Thursday:

1. South Africa’s Q2 current account

South Africa‘s current account deficit narrowed to 3.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter, from a revised 4.6% of GDP in the first quarter, central bank data showed on Thursday.

2. FirstRand results

FirstRand Bank says within its integrated portfolio of businesses comprising, FNB, RMB, Wesbank, Aldermore and Ashburton Investments it was able to produce a good set of results. Specifically, First National Bank’s growth earnings picked up 16% due to growth in customer base especially in its South African business, while Wesbank had a tough year, however it still delivered an ‘acceptable’ return on equity. FirstRand Bank is reporting an 8% increase in normalised earnings, with a normalised ROE of 23% for the year ended June 30, 2018. The board is declaring an ordinary dividend of 275 cents per share for the period.

3. Sasol workers to go on strike

Sasol workers represented by Solidarity Union have been planning to strike against Sasol’s proposed share scheme exclusively for black people. Unionists are calling the share scheme discriminatory in nature, because it excludes white people. On Tuesday, Reuters reported that around 100 workers staged a protest outside the Sasol building in Sasolburg and handed over a memorandum, criticising the scheme, to management at Sasol.

4. Sanlam results

Financial services provider Sanlam’s financial results for the six months ended June 30, 2018 shows a 12% increase in headline earnings to R5.126 billion from R4. 565 billion in 2017. Diluted headline earnings per share also increased by 10% to 248.6 cents from 225.3 cents in 2017. New business volumes declined by 1% and no dividend is being declared for the period.

5. EOH issues trading statement

Business solutions firm, EOH, released a trading statement for the twelve months ended July 31, 2018. The company is expecting a 55% to 70% decrease in headline earnings per share to 250 cents and 374 cents, while normalised headline earnings per share is also expected to decrease between 30% and 45% to 438 cents and 558 cents. EOH however expects revenue to increase by 8% to around R16.3 million.

Results are expected to be released on October 3, 2018.

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